In the Bears’ 31-28 loss to the Dolphins in overtime, there were some glaring issues.
The Bears’ formidable defense couldn’t make a tackle to save their life or apply any consistent pressure against a backup quarterback behind a battered offensive line, the running backs couldn’t hang on to the football, the offense failed to do much of anything in the first half, the coaching was questionable, and when Cody Parkey got the opportunity to bury his former team, he missed: wide right.
No doubt the Bears lost a game they had no business losing, but in what may have seemed like a gut-wrenching, nothing-good-to-come-from loss in the 90 degree Miami heat, there were some positives: more specifically, Mitch Trubisky.
Trubisky came into this matchup with the Dolphins just two weeks removed from his career game against the Buccaneers — six touchdown throws and 354 yards on 19 of 26 passing attempts.
Although that game may have silenced the Trubisky doubters, it was imperative for the franchise quarterback to come into hostile territory and build off that impressive performance.
The first offensive play of the game was a good indication that he would do just that; Trubisky surveyed the field and threw an almost perfect pass to Allen Robinson in between three defenders. Yes, there was an open Josh Bellamy in the flat on that play, but Trubisky has been taught to make his progressions from touchdown to check down, and that was an impressive throw. What may have seemed risky and ultimately resulted in nothing, showed the confidence Trubisky has in his arm despite playing a Dolphins’ secondary that came into the game with a league-high 10 interceptions.
But two plays later, Trubisky sailed a ball over a wide-open Anthony Miller streaking down the middle of the field. If the ball was thrown better, the Bears would have scored opening touchdowns in four of their five games.
In the second quarter, the offense continued to leave points on the field.
With 12:14 remaining in the quarter, the Bears lined up in a 21 personnel (two running backs and one tight end) facing a second-and-7. Receiver Taylor Gabriel and running back Tarik Cohen were lined up to Trubisky’s right, and the dolphins brought the blitz to Bobby Massie’s side. Both Gabriel and Cohen were wide open on their vertical routes, but Trubisky had to get the ball off in a hurry. Trubisky’s pass ended up going well over Cohen’s 5-foot-6 frame.
For any quarterback making a throw with pressure bailing down is not ideal and incredibly difficult, but the great quarterbacks find a way to make a defense pay for bringing the blitz. If Trubisky is able to hit Gabriel or Cohen, there is a good chance Bears fans, who were all over Hard Rock Stadium, would have been singing “Bear Down, Chicago Bears.”
Bears fans did have something to cheer about on their second to last drive before heading into halftime. On first down, Trubisky threw a 47-yard pass to Gabriel. The ball couldn’t have been placed better, and the offense finally was in striking distance.
Except that drive ended in a Jordan Howard fumble at the two-yard line.
Luckily, though, Bears fans would get their opportunity to sing as soon as the second half started.
To start, Trubisky hurt the Dolphins’ defense on the ground with his 28-yard quarterback keeper. Then two plays later, Trubisky recognized he had Robinson one-on-one with rookie defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick to the left side and gave his receiver an opportunity to make a play on the ball. That resulted in a pass interference call and set up the shovel pass to Trey Burton for the touchdown.
Trubisky again would display his accuracy after a Kyle Fuller interception put the Bears in prime position to score. With Allen Robinson lined up to Trubisky’s left, Robinson released off the line of scrimmage, set his man up and got inside position.
Now, it was just up to Trubisky to deliver the throw. This was a play that was nearly identical to the one Trubisky threw behind Robinson on the skinny post against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 3.
This time Trubisky to advantage of the situation and threw an accurate pass for his second touchdown of the day. Afterward, the young QB celebrated with an animated fist pump.
Trubisky made some more great throws throughout the game: another deep ball to Gabriel and a touchdown pass to a wide-open Miller. He finished 22 of 31 for 316 yards, three touchdowns, one interception and a 122.5 quarterback rating.
Of course, there were also bad plays from Trubisky. The red zone interception being the worst and the across-the-body throw to Cohen, which should have been intercepted, come to mind.
And that is to be expected from a second-year QB. Mistakes will happen and he must learn from them.
But overall, Trubisky played well and showed more signs of progression.
Imagine if the loss to the Dolphins was because of how Trubisky played. Chicagoans might still be losing their minds and currently vouching to see Chase Daniel play, which wouldn’t be the first time this season, by the way.
If Trubisky keeps playing at an elevated level and continues to learn from his mistakes, the Bears will be a tough team to beat moving forward.